Global Industrial & Defence Solutions (GIDS) is Pakistan’s leading state-owned defence conglomerate, operating under the patronage of Joint Staff Headquarters and dealing in the export of defence and technological products. Led by CEO, Asad Kamal, we are celebrating his extraordinary work in transforming an underperforming business unit into a profit-making entity, making GIDS the biggest brand out of Pakistan and South East Asia. He is our team’s pick for the Award of Most Dynamic CEO 2023 from the Defence Industry of Asia. We discover how he has taken both his career and GIDS to the exceptional heights they are reaching today.
This brilliant CEO is no stranger to an accolade, with Asad Kamal also being recently praised as among the Top 100 Best Performing CEOs of Pakistan by CEO Club Pakistan, the country’s premier business group which draws hundreds of business leaders across the region – No feat to be taken lightly.
Having been associated with the defence industry for the last 24 years, Asad has diverse multinational experience of defence exports in more than 20 countries across four continents, giving him a fair amount of understanding of different cultures, procurement habits, and chain of command. He holds an MBA degree with a specialisation in marketing, and has organised and coordinated more than 150 international events and tradeshows across the globe.
While Asad doesn’t deny how his role in leadership can be challenging, he believes it is a process of learning and evolution, as he tells us, “We learn, we grow, and we eventually evolve towards our better selves. As CEO, I believe that timing is everything. As leader, timing becomes decisive in life while encountering different situations. ‘Define priorities, make smart trade-offs, and embrace the actions!’ I practice to break through the inertia to keep the organisation going on business continuity. At the same time, I try to align my team’s focus to keep the momentum going in line with the organisational goals.”
As CEO of GIDS – as well as Chief Salesman and Chief Brand Manager – Asad’s prime objective remains as transformation – Transformation of a company struggling with consistently churning revenues and its board members slowly losing faith in the cause. Asad recalls, “My first job was to win the hearts and minds of my management and bring their faith back. Then inspire my team and push the system to slowly incite change – Easier said than done! It was a strategic battle at two fronts, outward and inward. Exhaustive and challenging, but rewarding eventually.”
He goes on to explain what transforming the organisation involved. “So, I had to go back to the drawing board and do major alterations to the company DNA: some by changing mindset and some by doing complete business process re-engineering. Finally, I had to trust my team to do their best and bring this dream to reality. I am happy that what unfolded subsequently for us made everyone proud. However, my job is far from done; there is a lot to achieve yet.”
“I consider myself as an instrument of change and that is my biggest value and contribution to the company.”
Today, GIDS has more than three decades of experience behind it in developing indigenous defence technologies and solutions, now boasting more than 150 products in its portfolio, from cruise missiles to small pyros. In addition to having expanded its customer base across 20 countries, GIDS has in the last six years established a global brand name and one of the most vibrant and professional defence sales companies in the region – and it’s all thanks to the visionary leadership of Asad Kamal.
Further, we ask Asad to give us more of an insight into how GIDS remains steadfast specifically as a Pakistani weapons company against big industry giants across the globe. “Well, it’s a bit of strategy and a bit of resilience combined. Pakistan has made a lot of technological prowess in the last few decades when it comes to indigenous defence protection. Given our inherent geopolitical challenges, our nation has put a lot of resource, human capital, and faith into defence production. However, when it comes to sales, we have to pick our competition and the battlefield wisely; we have our own niche, and that is the cost benefit and value that we offer to our clients. We go to great lengths to understand what our customer wants, as we make the solution ‘easy on the pocket’ with ‘no strings attached’.”
Even as a pure government entity, luckily, GIDS operates with a lot of operational/ business autonomy given by its management. Asad states, “I always feel proud to claim that GIDS is our local success story, where young professionals contribute in doing their humble best every day for the nation.”
“I feel an organisation is like a tree; it will only grow and bear fruit once the people who work for it grow and prosper along with it.”
Indeed, as part of the work GIDS does, Asad is keen to highlight the crucial role his staff play, believing they are the company’s greatest asset. He places great importance on developing their skills and knowledge, which in return increases the company’s stature and profits. GIDS is an organisation manned by professionals at all management levels, and that has allowed it to evolve, grow, and make a difference.
Asad goes on to say, “A CEO must always be switching between what I call different altitudes and frequencies – tasks of different levels of abstraction and specificity. At the highest altitude, you’re asking the big questions, like “What is the company’s mission and strategy?”, “Do people understand and believe in these aims?”, “Are decisions consistent with them?” At the lowest altitude, you’re looking at on-the-ground operations and tactical manoeuvring. Mainly, though, I prefer to work at a middle-to-high altitude. I’m fascinated with long-term strategic alternatives. I’m not a daydreamer, but I like to reflect on and talk about realistic options and strategies, forcing myself out of my comfort zone. In business, inspiration and experience often leads to wisdom and success, so every day is a new day for me to learn to do what is in the best interest of my country and organisation both.”
Now, Asad reflects on how the last two years have been very busy for Global Industrial & Defence Solutions, as it has reorganised itself to introduce a completely new line of products for the world. Thus, the next 12 months are going to see the manifestation of the company’s new product strategy – Bigger systems like cruise missiles, long range drones, and artillery weapons will become its flagship products, which means an entirely new segment of customers. The team is extremely excited and motivated to embrace all that is to come in the near future – and we at Acquisition International are looking forward to seeing it all unfold.
Company: Global Industrial & Defence Solutions
Contact: Mr. Asad Kamal
Address: GIDS Building, Complex-II, Chaklala Garrison – Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Telephone: +92 51 92800 61 / 62